I am sitting here, making this entry, while I listen to some good ole country western music via the internet. Normally, I do not listen to this genre of music. It is just that once in awhile, once in a great while, I just have the hankerinâ?? for some Hank, Hank Williams Sr. that is. I think that living in Idaho for a couple of years turned me on to Country Western music, the type of music that is truly American.
I remember driving through a rural part of Idaho, only able to receive one station on my car radio, a Country Western station. I stopped at a general store on the side of the road for a cool beverage. There was a â??good ole boyâ?? behind the counter of the store, puffing on a Lucky Strikes cigarette. I asked him why there was only one type of music on the airwaves there. With a gleam in his eye, he responded, â??No sir, we got two types of music here. We got yer Country and we got yer Western.â??
So, you can see that I am just as comfortable listening to the popular singers of the present (i.e., Ashanti, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, etc.) as I am the classic Country Western singers from an era gone by (i.e. Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Jimmie Rodgers, etc.).
Regarding my happenings today, I started out having to go into the school an hour earlier than usual. There was a potential new student, â??Colinâ??, that needs tutoring. His parents want him to be tutored by a native English speaker. Shu Mei told them that they would have to pay me $20 per hour, which is a little less than the going rate.
After teaching him for an hour, his father came to pick him up and spoke with Shu Mei about signing his son up for an hour a day of private tutoring. It is customary for Taiwanese people to get the best deal they can. (The â??stereotypical Jewish personâ?? has nothing on the â??stereotypical Chinese personâ??.)
So, Colinâ??s father tried to get Shu Mei to agree to a smaller rate of $18.50 per hour. Reluctantly, she agreed, telling the father not to divulge the smaller rate to any other potential tutor candidates. Also, as a compromise, she got Colinâ??s father to agree that the tutoring will be done at our home, saving us from having to buy another vehicle so that I could go to the school at a different time. (Currently, our coworker Linda picks me up midday, with some children at their morning schools, and takes me to the school.)
After the tutor session with Colin, I returned home on Lindaâ??s scooter. I realize that a great deal has changed with me, since I lived in the US just a short time ago. For instance, I now almost never wear shoes. In fact, I can only recall wearing shoes to Church during the past several weeks. I usually wear sandals. Riding a scooter is another big change for me. Growing up, my parents, especially my Dad, told us stories of how dangerous motorcycles were. It was a rule in our family that none of us could drive a motorcycle (or scooter) as long as we lived under our fatherâ??s roof.
Anyway, I reflected upon the state I was in, during that scooter ride. I thought about how I used to have to wear a tie to work everyday. Now, with my normal attire being a shirt, shorts and flip-flops, I am immensely more comfortable. I am thankful that I have the luxury of wearing what I want to wear.
I returned to the school for the afternoon, where I taught the students in the fine art of making apples out of clay. Then, I taught them how to make banana splits. Of course, they loved both of the subject matters. (What could they complain about?) Oh, and of course, there was a great deal of English instruction thrown into the activities.
After the afternoon session, I taught a group of children (10 of them) at the home of Shu Mei’s parents, for an hour. (More on this class at a later day.) After that, I returned to the school for a two-hour class with adults. I taught them how to give directions in English, a much-needed skill if any world travelers happen to wander into this rural area by mistake.
Therefore, you can see that it was a full day of work. I am diligently working at this venture in hopes that it will soon prove to be a profitable one. I hope that I am able to retire comfortably, not filthy rich, just comfortably.